Step 2.2 - Engage with the community

After looking at local data, your next step in assessing your current level of age friendliness is to gather information from the community.

Gather information

Community engagement should identify community strengths, challenges, and priorities.

Community engagement can be carried out in many different ways – choose what works best for your community. You could include:

  • surveys
  • interviews
  • focus groups
  • workshops
  • forums.

Your approach should make it easy for people to voice their opinion if they wish to do so. For example, people living with dementia may find it easier to give feedback and make suggestions if someone goes through the process with them in person.

The Department of Internal Affairs has advisory teams located around Aotearoa New Zealand to help build strong, sustainable communities, hapū and iwi. Community advisors can help in various ways, including providing information about community-led development and community projects, acting as facilitators and connecting you with other local people, groups or agencies.

How community advisors can help

Effective engagement with Māori

It is important to include a Te Ao Māori perspective when undertaking age friendly work. Genuine engagement with Māori is based on reciprocity and includes building long-term relationships with relevant people from local iwi, hapū and whānau.

Involving Māori at the start of your work enables the development of an enduring partnership to inform planning and to support the ongoing needs of kaumātua Māori in your community. Take the time needed to build these relationships.

If you want to start having conversations with relevant iwi and hapū and you are not sure where to start, link in with other groups with established relationships. Talk to council staff or your regional Te Puni Kōkiri office, as there may be an existing relationship in place that you could contribute to as part of your work.

There are a number of useful resources to help you engage effectively with Māori in our resources page:

Resources for assessment

Effective engagement with Pacific communities

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples provides a range of resources to guide engagement with Pacific peoples. These include:

  • a policy analysis tool called Kapasa to support a strengths-based approach to policy development focused on the values of Pacific communities.
  • a comprehensive guide on engagement called Yavu. This series of resources provides a framework on how to engage with Pacific peoples in a way that is culturally responsive and sustainable.

Resources – Ministry for Pacific Peoples

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples also has teams around New Zealand which can provide additional support.

Engaging with migrant communities

Forecasts show that the greatest percentage growth in our older communities will be in ethnic groups other than New Zealand European, Māori, and Pacific peoples.

This growth will significantly increase the diversity of our older population in the next 20 years. Connecting with local representatives of a range of ethnic groups will help you to develop programmes that will be appropriate for your future community.

If you are looking for help, council staff in policy and/or community development roles are a good starting point as they may have established links with community groups.

You could also contact the Ministry for Ethnic Communities – their website includes a range of resources, including the Ethnicity Matters guide to working with and responding to the needs of ethnic communities.

Resources – Ministry for Ethnic Communities

Working with rural and remote communities

Our rural communities face unique challenges – some useful resources include:

Share your findings

Make the findings of the engagement publicly available so that the wider community knows what was discussed and what the conclusions were. This also enables those who engaged in discussions to confirm that their views have been accurately represented.

“Believe in and trust in the wisdom of your community. They live it, they know it. Demonstrate your belief with every interaction and action so we role model the values of respect and community belief.”

Madeleine Burdon, Community Development Advisor, Waimakariri District Council

Next: Identify opportunities for collaboration »

« Previous: Review local statistics


Last modified: